The world’s largest solar power plant, installed by the Adani Group in 2,500 acres in Kamuthi taluk of Tamil Nadu, is not as green or sustainable as it seems. Local residents claim the 648 MW renewable energy plant is a water guzzler.
It takes as much as 2 lakh litres of good quality water to keep its 25 lakh solar modules clean each day. That water is sourced from borewells 5 km away without permission from the district authorities, the villagers allege.
Near the dried Gundar riverbed on Kamuthi-Mudukulathur road at Kottai Medu, one can find borewells functioning round the clock, filling 6,000-8,000 litre tanks that are attached to tractors.
Around 40 tractors are said to have been contracted by Adani Green Energy (TN) for cleaning the giant solar modules, each of which is approximately 125 ft long and 28 ft wide. Two contract workers in each vehicle fetch water and clean the modules, often twice a day. The panels need to be kept clean, else production could drop by as much as 25 per cent.
The plant’s security head S K Sharma told Express they were not drawing or buying borewell water directly. Since cleaning work has been outsourced, it’s up to contractors to manage the water source. That part has been specifically written into the contract, he claimed. The Adani top brass was unavailable for comment.
A revenue official attached to Kamuthi taluk confirmed “no person or company has got permission to sell the groundwater, but they are selling it to contractors to clean the solar modules.”
Seeman threatens to protest
NTK leader Seeman says the State provided all support needed for Adani’s group to set up the plant, right from land acquisition to setting up an exclusive sub station of TANTRASCO. “But the company has now started exploiting the water source,” he said, threatening to protest.